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Air freshners: Healthy or deadly?


Air fresheners sell like hot cakes. Almost every other car on the road and at least two out of three homes use some form of air freshener.

But what kind of an effect can they have and are they all that bad? Is your air freshener secretly killing you? Are there any serious health effects to those sweet scented, aromatic accessories?

From solid, aerosol and plug-in varieties, domestic fragrances and odour neutralizers have received a bad reputation for their chemical stewpots. Environmental groups repeatedly warn against using many types of air fresheners, citing a list of pollutants that can threaten our health.

At the same time, industry representatives maintain that air fresheners pose no risk.

But in tests, 14 different air fresheners sold openly, showed that many air fresheners contain chemicals that could cause developmental and reproductive problems, especially for infants. It highlighted the presence of phthalates, Ethylene-based glycol ethers and other hazardous chemicals.

The list of possible air freshener irritants is huge.  Studies show that they can cause problems with respiratory function.

These chemicals, also known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, have been linked to respiratory problems such as reduced lung capacity and they could possibly quicken the onset of respiratory diseases.

Studies show that air fresheners have also been known to trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

Since air fresheners can be found almost anywhere, from hotel rooms to public restrooms, they can be difficult for those with allergies to avoid.


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